See this? It’s a Toyota Yaris. But not just any old Toyota Yaris.
As you’ve probably figured out from the photos (if not the headline), this is Toyota’s new World Rally Championship contender, unveiled at Autosport International ahead of the upcoming rally season.
The 2018 model is based closely on the version that the Japanese automaker (through its German motorsport base) entered in the championship last year, but benefits from some upgrades learned over the course of that campaign.
That means a revised aerodynamics package, specially tuned to generate more downforce at the front for better steering response. The tweaked bodywork also helps deliver more cooling to the mechanical components underneath, which will come in handy particularly at some of the hotter events on the calendar.
Last year in its debut season, the Toyota team won two rallies – in Sweden and Finland – to land fourth in the drivers’ standings and third in the manufacturers’ championship. The competition will be no less fierce this year, but with the new equipment, Toyota might just improve on its already impressive track record and recapture the crowns it last won in the 1990s with the Celica.